GEH1402:            Public Health Mythbusters

Speaker:              Dan Hendershott, REHS/RS


"I read it on the internet so it must be true!" From former professional wrestlers to reality TV stars to healthy living fanatics, it seems like everyone has a website promoting myths and rumors about health that are not based in fact. How do environmental health professionals win this war of words?  See how one agency is using creative and fun multimedia presentations to educate their constituents.



In 1900 America, a baby girl had a life expectancy of 44 years.  In 2000, that same girl has a life expectancy of 78 years.  This is thanks in part to the many public health interventions that have improved the health of our communities. Interventions such as disinfection of water, immunizations and pasteurization of milk and juice have prolonged countless lives. More recently, the value of some of these interventions is being questioned. Creating myths that are not always founded in fact and good scientific research.

In 2012, the Summit County Public Health Department launched a series studying some of these myths to determine whether they are true, false or in some cases need more research. This project separates fact from fiction for some of the more commonly debated public health interventions and presents the findings in a series of videos viewable on the departments YouTube page ( Topics produced include; radon, car seats, community water fluoridation, eating fat makes you fat, immunizations, bed bugs and sugared juice drinks. A raw milk episode will be produced soon. The Colorado Public Health Association issued Dan the Technical Innovation Award in 2013 largely due to the success of this project.